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Home / News / Hairstylist agrees to plead guilty to defrauding Malibu physician

Hairstylist agrees to plead guilty to defrauding Malibu physician

by City News Service
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A hairstylist accused of defrauding a Malibu ophthalmologist out of more than $2.7 million before the doctor’s death, then attempting to siphon an additional amount exceeding $20 million from the estate has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges, according to court papers obtained Thursday.

Anthony David Flores, 47, a Fresno hairstylist who goes by the name of Anton David, is expected to enter his plea to nine charges including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to engage in money laundering, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

A change-of-plea hearing is set for Oct. 19 in Los Angeles federal court.

Flores’ co-defendant and then-romantic partner, Anna Rene Moore, 39, previously pleaded guilty to seven of the indictment’s 12 charges. The yoga instructor/actress, who last lived in Monterrey, Mexico, is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

Prosecutors say the couple were living in Fresno, where they operated a window cleaning business and yoga studio when they first met Dr. Mark Sawusch by chance at a Los Angeles-area ice cream parlor in June 2017.

Sawusch was a physician and successful investor who was worth more than $60 million, but who suffered from mental illness and had lost the ability to care for himself. He had recently been released from the hospital after several involuntary psychiatric stays, according to Flores’ plea agreement.

Within days of meeting Sawusch, Flores and Moore moved into his beachfront Malibu home — rent free — and slowly took control of his life by pretending to be his new best friends and caregivers, the DOJ said.

In September 2017, after Sawusch suffered a severe mental breakdown resulting in his arrest and detention in Los Angeles County jail, Flores fraudulently induced him to sign powers of attorney granting Flores control over his finances, the plea agreement states.

From September 2017 to May 2018, Flores and Moore are alleged to have diverted the victim’s funds to their own bank accounts, isolated Sawusch from his family and longtime friends and provided him with drugs, including marijuana and LSD.

In the final days of the physician’s life, Flores and Moore gave him LSD, which caused his mental state to severely deteriorate, court papers allege.

While Sawusch was under the influence of LSD, Flores changed the two-step authentication feature on the doctor’s $60 million online brokerage account after previously changing the phone number listed on the account from Sawusch’s phone number to his own, the indictment alleges.

Four days before Sawusch’s death and while he was still under the influence of the LSD, Flores allegedly initiated two $1 million wires from the physician’s brokerage account to accounts that Flores controlled, including Flores’ personal bank account, according to the DOJ.

Flores and Moore then left the victim, who by this time was in mental distress and had evicted them from his home, prosecutors said. From a luxury hotel paid for with stolen funds, Flores and Moore watched the ophthalmologist’s deteriorating mental condition on video cameras installed throughout the Malibu beach house, federal prosecutors allege.

In May 2018, Sawusch died in his Malibu home at the age of 57. Following his death, Flores and Moore moved back into the Malibu home and allegedly withdrew large sums of money from the dead man’s accounts. They allegedly also concealed information about the victim’s finances from his mother and sister, both of whom lived in Florida. This prompted the victim’s family to file a lawsuit, which uncovered the alleged fraud.

In the ensuing lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, Flores and Moore violated multiple court orders ordering them to return the funds stolen from the victim. They attempted to launder the fraudulent proceeds by funneling the money through multiple accounts to thwart Sawusch’s estate and court-appointed receiver from recouping the money.

The lawsuit was settled with Flores and Moore agreeing to repay the doctor’s estate $1 million, which they have so far failed to do, according to the DOJ.

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